Sydney Theatre Company and Michael Cassel Group have signed a commercial first look agreement for all future works produced by the theatre company.
As part of the pact, STC’s productions will have the opportunity to be transferred or remounted as commercial productions in new markets, with the intention of touring across Australia and internationally. The company, founded in 1978, is a non-profit and has served a springboard for the careers of such international talents as Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving and Toni Collette. Recent shows from STC, such as “The Maids” and “A Streetcar Named Desire,” have toured internationally to much acclaim. The company mounts roughly 15 shows a year across the four theaters that it operates.
MCG has become a major force in Australian theater, launching productions of the likes of “Hamilton” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” in the country. Thanks to an investment from Silver Lake Partners, the company is in expansion mode. In February, it opened an office in New York that is led by Jane Abramson, the former creative development director at Disney Theatrical Group.
“For us it’s revolutionary in terms of the opportunities it presents,” says Michael Cassel, the company’s founder and CEO. “I’m very proud to showcase what is arguably our country’s most talented theater company and collaborate with Kip and his team to take these productions around the globe.”
The first production to benefit from the partnership between the two groups will be STC artistic director Kip Williams’ critically acclaimed adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” The show earned rave reviews, particularly for star Eryn Jean- Norvill, who plays all 26 characters from the novel thanks to the help of multiple live cameras and pre-recorded video. After several extensions in 2020, it will return to the theater for an encore season next year. Cassel says he hopes to transfer the show to London or New York in the coming year.
The partners decided to formalize their relationship after Cassel went to see “Dorian Gray.”
“I knew Michael was in the audience one night and it was about ten minutes after the curtain went down that I got this fantastic email,” remembers Williams. “He just said, ‘I’m blown away and I can’t believe you pulled this off.’”
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